10/01 Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret
10/02 Seattle, WA @ Neumos
10/03 Portland, OR @ The Mission Theater
10/04 Portland, OR @ The Mission Theater
10/06 San Francisco, CA @ Hardly Strictly Fest
10/08 Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater
An upcoming performance by Australia’s renowned instrumental rock band Dirty Three should have music fans frothing at the mouth with excitement. The band will be touring behind Toward the Low Sun, their first album since 2005…
Flamboyant and energetic Ellis, along with somber-faced Jim White on drums and stoic Mick Turner on guitar, gave the crowd the sonic feast, songs that stretched and swelled with emotion and with every kick of Ellis’ pointed shoe. Ellis indeed provided humor and dramatics to the show; dressed in what one audience member concluded was an LSD-inspired shirt (Ellis insists the tie-dyed purple and turquoise shirt, buttoned down Tom Jones-style, was the result of throwing up Kool-Aid), the violinist drilled the bow into his instrument, causing stringy bits to rub off and into his considerable salt-and-pepper beard. Sometimes he turned completely facing White, grooving and shaking with the rhythm and other times he crowed and stomped and plucked on his violin toward the crowd so violently you expected the thing to burst into flames. White held his own, deftly creating a unique percussive backdrop all while gazing calmly straight ahead. Turner seemed content off to the side, a fluid stream of guitar adding warmth and color to a canvas already vibrating with intensity.
The band covered a wide range of songs going all the way back to 1996’s Horse Stories (“Hope” and show closer “Sue’s Last Ride”) through my favorite 1998’s Ocean Songs (“Sea Above, Sky Below”) and newer ventures like this year’s Toward the Low Sun (“Rain Song,” “The Pier” and “Sometimes I Forget You’ve Gone”). Coupled with weird touches like Ellis eating two bananas at different parts during the evening and wonderful moments like the band playing the Greek cover “I Remember A Time When Once You Used To Love Me" (also from Horse Stories) for an enthusiastic fan (who yelled for it in Greek!), the evening with Dirty Three turned out to be two things Starbucks is simply not: thrilling and memorable.
Dirty Three at Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis (09/28/12)